Lectures and practical classes in Engineering take place in the Engineering Department, which is only five minutes’ walk from the College. In the first two years almost all the time between 9.00am and 4.00pm, Mondays to Fridays, is occupied by time-tabled activities, mostly lectures and laboratory sessions.
The College arranges supervisions to support each lecture course taken by a student, at a rate of approximately one supervision for every two weeks of lectures. Each student typically has three supervisions per week in the first two years, rather less in the third and fourth year.
The College has seven Fellows whose subject is Engineering, and two Fellows whose subject is specifically Chemical Engineering. In the first and second years roughly half of supervision is carried out by fellows. Further supervisions are given by post-doctoral researchers and research students who are often also affiliated with the college. Students usually attend supervisions in pairs, or threes, and the supervisions usually take place in the afternoons or early evenings.
Engineering in Cambridge is taught as an integrated course. This means that in the first two years students study all aspects of engineering, before specialising into one or more specific areas in the third and fourth year. While academically challenging, this approach ensures that Cambridge engineers are well-rounded and are able to work with colleagues from across the entire discipline.
Students who embark on the Engineering course have the option, in the second year, of entering the Chemical Engineering Tripos. There are many further options in the third and fourth years, including the Management Studies Tripos and the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos.
For further details of the course, prospective applicants should see the Engineering Department’s Undergraduate Admissions website.
We admit about 16 engineers each year. The course is tough, and we would expect those applying to have a very strong background in physics and mathematics. Our conditional offers typically require Mathematics and Physics and one other relevant A-level (or equivalent), for example, Chemistry. In addition to these, Further Mathematics A-level is highly desirable as a fourth A Level. If your school offers Further Mathematics we would expect you to take up this option. It is also important that candidates study Mechanics as one, or preferably two of their modules. Engineers with Further Maths as a fourth A-level will also be asked for a grade in this subject. We do not require STEP. For those sitting the International Baccalaureate, Higher Level subjects should be Maths, Physics and a further relevant subject wherever possible. For information about other qualifications, please contact us.
Admissions for Chemical Engineering
Those wishing to take Chemical Engineering in the second and subsequent years should make this clear on the application form. Chemistry A-level (or equivalent) is essential for this course.
Interviews and Assessment
All applicants for Engineering will be required to sit a pre-interview assessment and further details can be found on the University of Cambridge website. We are looking for students who are highly motivated and enthusiastic about engineering and have the academic ability to learn very fast in a demanding course. We interview all applicants who stand a realistic chance of a place. At interview we are keen to see students who are able to use what they have learnt as a basis for tackling new and unfamiliar problems. One interview will be based around physics and maths questions that you will be given a chance to start attempting before the interview, and the other will discuss physics and mathematics problems that you may have not seen before. You may be asked about other academic interests, and what you have learned about outside your A-level (or equivalent) courses.
Three or four years?
Almost all of our engineers graduate from the four-year MEng degree option. While it is possible to complete the course in three years with a BA Engineering degree, this is an option normally only taken by students who do not meet the progression requirements for continuing on the four year course. All candidates for Engineering should apply to the Student Finance Company for four-year funding in the first instance. It may be difficult to obtain an extension once the course has started.
A few of our engineering students take a gap year, and those who choose to do so obtain sponsorship and work for their sponsors or find experience through the Year in Industry scheme. We would particularly encourage those who are very young (i.e. those who may be under eighteen if they come directly from school to Pembroke) to defer for a year. We are very happy to make deferred offers, but expect that students taking a Gap Year will ensure that they keep up their mathematics and physics skills in particular during the year to ease transition once at Cambridge.
Links with other Universities
The Cambridge Engineering Department has established links with the Ecole Centrale in Paris, and the National University of Singapore, and selected students will be able to spend the third year of the four-year MEng course studying at one of these institutions. Pembroke also has links with Caltech in California and, each year, one or two students join their summer research programme.
The MEng course is accredited by all the major Engineering Institutions as one fulfilling the academic requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer.
Pembroke Engineering Fellows
- Professor Gabor Csanyi – Computational Mechanics
- Professor Vikram Deshpande – Mechanical behaviour of materials
- Dr John Durrell – Superconductivity
- Professor Andrea Ferrari – Nanotechnology
- Professor Norman Fleck – Mechanics of fracture and fatigue
- Professor Jan Maciejowski – Control and systems engineering
- Professor Silvana Cardoso – Industrial and environmental fluid mechanics
- Dr Guillaume Hennequin – Neuroscience
- Dr Christopher Ness – Flow and deformation properties of soft matter systems
See also the page about Engineering on the University website for further information.